Written by Guest Blogger, Kristine Baldacci
In the fall of 2015, I married my college sweetheart and love of my life. Both coming from big Italian families, we knew we wanted to have kids; and lots of them. We had just moved from a box of an apartment in San Francisco to a townhouse in Walnut Creek that had TWO BEDROOMS – that’s huge when you used to literally live on top of one another. One thing that gave me all the butterflies and heart eyes was when we were looking at the townhouse and came across the second bedroom. My husband said, “This will be perfect for the baby’s room since it’s just down the hall from our room.” Say what???
Fast forward a couple months to when we decided it was time for me to finish my birth control pack and not start another so that we could start trying for the family we both wanted. After the first month of really tracking everything, I started to feel a little off and I just shrugged it off and thought “No, not yet, we just started trying.” The day before I was traveling for work, I woke up thinking, “Well I’d like to know now before traveling for a week away from my husband.” Sure enough, I took the test and I saw those two pink lines pop up instantly. “I’M PREGNANT?!?! WHAT?!” I went running downstairs to tell my husband who was in utter disbelief and wanted me to take another test just to be sure. We celebrated just the two of us that day before I had to leave and brainstormed how we would tell our parents, family and friends in the next couple of months. And that we did — the whole ordeal: onesies with ‘you’re gonna be grandparents’, blocks that read ‘the best moms get promoted to Nonni’, sonograms that said “Hi Auntie” and the cherry on top – for my husband’s birthday we had a blind wine tasting party. We started off with sparkling apple cider and as our friends were tasting, smelling, etc. with confused looks because it most definitely was not wine, I shouted, “ya that’s not wine because I’M PREGNANT!”
Two days later at my 13-week appointment, the nurse, while doing an ultrasound, was talking to us about if we were going to find out the sex, had we started to buy anything for the nursery, have we thought of names… when she suddenly stopped. She excused herself quickly and left the room. At that moment, I knew. I knew my whole world was going to come crashing down even before anyone had to tell me. My eyes immediately welled up. The doctor came in, starting doing an ultrasound, then stopped and turned off the monitor. “There is no longer a heartbeat and the baby is measuring the same as 4 weeks ago, showing no signs of growth.” My entire body went cold and numb. I looked at my husband and between silent sobs, whispered, “I’m so sorry”. I felt every emotion in the matter of .5 seconds – I was heartbroken, I was angry, I was devastated, I was in shock…you name it, I felt it. The one thing I have always wanted to be was a mother and I felt like I had failed, not to mention feeling like I had let down the most important person in my life, my husband. He was also so excited to be a father and I wasn’t able to make that happen for him.
The next couple of weeks were a blur. I had not wanted to know the sex of the baby because that would make it even harder than it already was but I did want to know if there was a reason as to why I miscarried. As luck was not in my corner, the reasoning I miscarried was because the baby had Turner’s syndrome…which only occurs in baby girls, so much for not finding out the sex. But my doctor told me that it was all science and nothing I could have done to prevent it. Some silver lining there, doc. Once I was back home and not throwing up from coming off the anesthesia, we had to start letting our loved ones know. You’d think after telling the same story over and over it would get less painful. It didn’t. We went away for the weekend to clear our minds and try to relax except all we did was stay in the house and cry over the loss. Looking back, it is what we needed to help start the healing.
Going back to work was excruciating – I worked at a school…that had a preschool…that had preschool mommies pregnant with number 2 or 3. Not to mention, 3 of my co-workers were pregnant. If it wasn’t at school, it was on my facebook or instagram “First comes love, then comes marriage, then…” or “We are due with #2”. Cute..all of it..cute but I wanted nothing to do with it. Because you see the thing besides how miscarriages aren’t really talked about, is that no one talks about what happens to you after. You can’t immediately start trying again. Your body is not the same as it was prior. Your hormones are all out of whack, there is no way of tracking until your period returns and not to mention the idea of trying again is scary and daunting because you cannot shake the feeling of: “What if it happens again?”
Our one year anniversary was coming up and we were headed to Hawaii where I was supposed to be sporting a cute baby bump but instead everyone else had the same idea and showed up 3-6 months pregnant. I couldn’t escape it. I did my best to shake it off because who wants to be full of depressed and jealous feelings in Hawaii? Once we returned from our trip, I was somewhat back to normal and able to start tracking again. I was doing e v e r y t h i n g to track. I was taking my basal body temperature, I had all the apps, I was taking my prenatals, I was eliminating alcohol and caffeine from my diet, and when my app matched with what my basal body temperature was telling me – we started trying again.
Month one, period returned. I shrugged it off because we had only tried once since the miscarriage. On to the next month. Month two, I got my period again. No thank you Aunt Flo. I threw away the basal thermometer, deleted all of the apps and stopped tracking because clearly it wasn’t working so why would I continue. I started getting those feelings back of being a failure, questioning what was wrong with me and why couldn’t I do this. Everyone else around me was getting pregnant left and right. When was it my turn? I felt jealous, bitter, and angry at everyone – pregnant or not. Then I felt guilty and like a horrible person for feeling this way. I began to isolate myself from everyone – family, friends, co-workers…all of them. I was no fun to be around, that’s for sure.
After getting rid of all of the things that would help me track, I gave the whole “whatever happens is meant to be” saying a try and just focused on loving my husband and the life we have started together. Fast forward to next month – I was 3 days late. Hmm, too soon to test? I waited because I did not want to see “Not Pregnant” pop up on the test and I figured I’ve failed the past 2 times, mostly likely will be a no this time too. Now I was 5 days late and finally gave in and took a test. “NOT PREGNANT”. I threw the stick across the room and screamed into a sobbing fit on the floor. Why was it so easy for me the first time and yet not happening as quickly this time. I kept telling myself other women were going through this and even worse cases and years of trying and that I shouldn’t be feeling this way. But I HAD conceived and HAD a baby growing in my tummy and in a matter of seconds was gone and that feeling of being a mother to be was taken away from me. I was determined to get that back.
The weekend came and went – and still no period. Great. I went through that whole day counting the days and weeks from my last period. Questioning everything and googling what type of at home pregnancy tests are the most accurate and how common false negatives were. On my way home from work I grabbed yet another test from CVS and decided first thing in the morning if there was no period, I was taking that test. That morning I woke up and rolled towards my husband and said “I’m not pregnant, I just know it.” After getting me into the bathroom to take the test, my husband went downstairs to give me some time to work up the courage. Longest 3 minutes of my life. ::DING:: My timer went off and I crept slowly over to the test, covering my eyes. As I started to let my eyes open I was in complete disbelief. My eyes were deceiving me because I wanted it so badly. I ran downstairs and threw the stick at my husband…”WHAT DO YOU SEE?!” He calmly stated, “Babe…you’re pregnant.” I don’t think I’ve ever hugged another person so tightly. We stood there for awhile embraced and letting tears stream down our faces. But there was a small pit in my stomach. What if I can’t make it past 13 weeks again? I don’t know if I can handle this pain so shortly after finally healing.
Week 14 hit. I was a nervous wreck heading to the doctors. I held my breath the entire ultrasound. “There”, she said. “Right, there is your baby. And that little flicker is the very strong heartbeat. Baby is measuring right on track.” I BURST into tears. I made it past 13 weeks. I wanted to scream it from the rooftops, run home and get to be one of those people who get to exclaim it all over social media. But I also knew, a miscarriage could still happen. Sadly, in a weird way and a little embarrassing to admit, I almost waited for it to happen. I didn’t let myself get fully happy because I was so worried the moment I did, it would all go away. It wasn’t until week 20 where I finally stopped holding my breath and embraced the fact that I was pregnant and allowed myself to be fully happy. I now have the most precious little man, Thomas Joseph – who turned ONE in August. He is the love of my life and I wouldn’t change my story at all.
I wanted to share my story because during that time I didn’t have anyone in the same boat as me to turn to. I was the first out of my friends to get pregnant and go through this. Family members who had experienced this loss were there for me, cause Lord knows no matter how much time has passed it can still cut you down as if it was yesterday, but it still wasn’t the same as going through it with me. I realize that my story is not one that goes on for years of failed attempts and that I am blessed for my sweet baby boy but if I can be a story for another woman to relate to, even if it’s just one, then it was worth it. To all those amazingly strong women out there who are yearning to be a mama – know that you are not alone, know that you have a community to turn to, know that it is okay to feel sad, mad, jealous and hopeless at times, but also know – after every storm, comes a rainbow!